Connect with us


We’ve invested $8.5bn Nationwide, on Empowerment, Poverty Reduction- W/Bank



…As SLF, Ohanaeze, M’Belt groups, others berate Buhari***

The World Bank Group says it has invested about $8.5 billion across the 36 states of in Nigeria to support inclusive economic development, youth empowerment and poverty reduction.

The Senior Communications Officer, World Bank Nigeria, Mrs Olufunke Olufon highlighted this on Sunday in Abuja in a statement.

The Communications Officer who stated that the investments were  indeed scattered across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory to foster prosperity for all Nigerians, stressed that the explanation became necessary, following the  concerns raised by Nigerians over the comment by World Bank President, Mr Jim Yong Kim that President Muhammadu Buhari asked the bank to shift its intervention focus to North Eastern states.

She noted that the bank was also working with the federal and state governments, as well as development partners on speedy delivery of critical interventions to people of the North East who urgently needed assistance.

She added that “in 2015, the Government of Nigeria requested World Bank support to respond to the humanitarian and development crisis in the North East of Nigeria.

“To assess the needs of the nearly 15 million people in the region impacted by the crisis, the World Bank Group, the UN and European Union carried out a Recovery and Peace Building Assessment (RPBA).

“And based on the findings of the assessment, World Bank’s 775 million dollars support to the North East focuses on restoring basic education, health services, agricultural production, and livelihood improvement opportunities.”

Olufon noted that the World Bank Group was doubling its resources to address fragility, conflict and violence at the subnational and national levels and help to stabilise places that were affected by high poverty and influx of people.

In the meantime, President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the World Bank attracted more condemnations on Sunday as two North-Central groups said the President did not have the Middle Belt at heart.

Also, the Southern Leaders’ Forum berated the President, saying Buhari deployed troops in the South and World Bank projects in the core North.

The President of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, had, on Thursday, in Washington DC, United States of America, said Buhari directed the bank to concentrate its projects in northern Nigeria.

The Presidency, on Friday, lashed out at its critics, saying Buhari’s statement was twisted by mischief makers.

Sunday PUNCH reports that a huge chunk of the World Bank-backed projects, in partnership with the Federal Government, was located in the North.

None of the projects is in the North-Central, South-East and South-South, according to a report by the World Bank website on

Commenting on the omission of the North-Central from the projects, President of the Middle Belt Youth Council, Emma Zompal, said Buhari was anti-Middle Belt.

He stated, “The coming of President Buhari to Aso Rock has divided Nigerians to the extent that it will take us another century to mend. Middle Belt has been at the receiving end of this administration. Others may think that we have been part of the surplus appointments he has given so far.

“The Middle Belt people are worst hit in terms of Boko Haram attacks and the marauding Fulani herdsmen. We lost lives and property more than recorded in the history of our existence in Nigeria. It is obvious that the regime of President Buhari does not have Middle Belt at heart.”

According to him, the Middle Belt has been  a graveyard of crisis and displacement as result of Fulani herdsmen attacks.

Zompal added, “We have not seen any remedial efforts by this administration. It’s so sad that the World Bank projects in this administration are mainly for his people excluding the Middle Belt. All the areas affected in the Middle Belt have never been rehabilitated and there is no plan by this administration to do so.”

Also, the President of the Middle Belt Patriotic Front, Yusuf Hamman, noted that Buhari had seen no reason to rehabilitate the Middle Belt.

He stated, “Insecurity will bring hunger and increase poverty. Despite the loss of lives and property in Benue and Plateau states as well as in the Southern Kaduna, the government has seen no reason to include these areas in the intervention programmes.”

On his part, the Kwara State Chairman of the Congress of Nigeria’s Political Parties, Mr. Adebayo Lawal, said it was not fair to Kwara State that most of the World Bank projects were in the North-West and North-East.

In a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Sunday in Ilorin, Lawal said, “We don’t have much of World Bank projects in Kwara. The one I know is the Asa Dam dredging project; That is the only one I can remember.  We have not been catered for under the World Bank scheme for a very long time.

“It is not fair at all because the World Bank projects are always spelt out for the whole country to benefit. When it is concentrated in a few areas, definitely other areas are being deprived of their legitimate rights. It is not fair.”

Buhari’s directive sectional, discriminatory, says SLF

Also, the Southern Leaders Forum, in a statement on Sunday, said the President’s directive was appalling in view of the deployment of troops in the southern part of the country and the World Bank projects in the North.

The statement was signed by Chief Guy Ikokwu for the South-East; Senator Bassey Henshaw for the South-South; and Yinka Odumakin for the South-West.

It reads, “This directive, without mincing words, is sectional, discriminatory, divisive and against the laudable promise of Mr. President at his inauguration that he would not be beholden to anyone as he was elected to be the President of everybody.

“It riles the more when we have a situation of provocative deployment of ‘Operation Python Dance’ and ‘Crocodile Smile’ in a section of the country while the World Bank is being dispatched to another.”

The forum noted that asking the global financial body to concentrate its attention on the region, where the President hailed from, “throws a knife at the heart of our nationhood and challenges the hackneyed expression that the ‘unity of Nigeria is settled’.”

It argued that there could be no rational explanation for such a decision, criticising what it called the knee-jerk and bellicose reaction from the Presidency to the issue.

In its reaction, Ohanaeze Ndigbo said it had yet to see proof of Buhari’s claim that he had been fair to the Igbo.

The National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Mr. Uche Okpaga, told one of our correspondents in Enugu on Sunday that Buhari’s fairness or lack of fairness to the Igbo was an open secret.

Okpaga noted that the Buhari administration’s attitude to the Igbo contributed to the agitations in the South-East.

He stated, “The issue of fairness or otherwise to the Ndigbo by this present administration is an open secret – open to the Presidency and yet a secret to Ndigbo – as we are yet to see the proof, hence the uncommon agitations in the region.

“However, let me use this medium to thank President Muhammadu Buhari for approving the reconstruction of federal roads and other capital projects in the eastern region.

“He should see to its proper completion, for only then we will rate his fairness to Ndigbo in all ramifications.”

Additional report from Punch


NEPZA Boss Says Nation’s Free Trade Zones Not Really `Free’



The Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority (NEPZA) says the country’s Free Trade Zones are business anchorages that have for decades been used to generate revenues for the Federal Government.

Dr Olufemi Ogunyemi, the Managing Director of NEPZA, said this in a statement by the authority’s
Head of Corporate Communications, Martins Odeh, on Monday in Abuja, stressing that the the widely held notion that the scheme is a `free meal ticket’ for investors and not a means for the government to generate revenue is incorrect.

Ogunyemi said this public statement was essential to clarify the misunderstanding by various individuals and entities, in and out of government, on the nature of the scheme.

He reiterated the authority’s commitment to enhancing public knowledge of the principal reason for the country’s adoption of the scheme by the NEPZA Act 63 of 1992.

“The Free Trade Zones are not hot spots for revenue generation. Instead, they exist to support socioeconomic development.

“These include but are not limited to industrialisation, infrastructure development, employment generation, skills acquisition, foreign exchange earnings, and Foreign Direct Investments(FDI) inflows,” Ogunyemi said.

The managing director said the NEPZA Act provided exemption from all federal, state, and local government taxes, rates, levies, and charges for FZE, of which duty and VAT were part.

“However, goods and services exported into Nigeria attract duty, which includes VAT and other charges.

“In addition, NEPZA collects over 20 types of revenues, ranging from 500,000 dollars-Declaration fees, 60,000 dollars for Operation License (OPL) Renewal Fees between three and five years.

“There is also the 100-300 dollar Examination and Documentation fees per transaction, which occurs daily.

“There are other periodic revenues derived from vehicle registration and visas, among others.

“The operations within the free trade zones are not free in the context of the word,” he said.

Ogunyemi said the global business space had contracted significantly, adding that to win a sizable space would require the ingenuity of the government to either expand or maintain the promised incentives.

“These incentives will encourage more multinational corporations and local investors to leverage on the scheme, which has a cumulative investment valued at 30 billion dollars.

“The scheme has caused an influx of FDIs; it has also brought advanced technologies, managerial expertise, and access to global markets.

“For instance, the 52 FTZs with 612 enterprises have and will continue to facilitate the creation of numerous direct and indirect jobs, currently estimated to be within the region of 170,000,” he said.

Ogunyemi said an adjustment in title and introduction of current global business practices would significantly advance the scheme, increasing forward and backward linkages.

“This is with a more significant market offered by the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA).

“We have commenced negotiations across the board to ensure that the NEPZA Act is amended to give room for adjusting the scheme’s title from `Free Trade Zones to Special Economic Zones respectively.

“This will open up the system for the benefit of all citizens,” he said.

Continue Reading


2023 CLPA: Policy Cohesion Imperative For Implementation Of AfCFTA Agreements, Others



Some policy experts and stakeholders have called for policy cohesion across Africa for the successful implementation of multilateral policy decisions.

They spoke on Wednesday during one of the plenaries at the 2023 Conference on Land Policy in Africa (CLPA), held in Addis Ababa.

The CLPA, the fifth in the series, is organised by the tripartite consortium consisting of the African Union Commission (AUC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

The 2023 edition has the theme, ‘Year of AfCFTA: Acceleration of the African Continental Free Trade Area Implementation’.

Dr Medhat El-Helepi (ECA), chaired the plenary with the sub-theme: ‘Land Governance, Regional Integration, and Intra-Africa Trade: Opportunities and Challenges’.

Panelists at the plenary included Dr Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration and Trade, ECA; Mr Tsotetsi Makong, Head of Capacity Building and Technical Assistance, AfCFTA Secretariat.

Others were Mr Kebur Ghenna, CEO, of the Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PACCI) and Ms Eileen Wakesho, Director of Community Land Protection at Namati, Kenya.

The event also attracted various stakeholders, including traditional leaders, Civil Society Organisations, and policy decision-makers.

Makong expressed worries over the reluctance of some participants to openly discuss some matters, pleading ‘no go areas of domestic affairs’.

He, however, noted that the issues of land were within the limit of domestic regulations, adding that tenure land security was the solution that would allow intra-African investment that is still low in Africa.

Makong pointed out that the success of the investment protocol under the AfCFTA would depend on countries’ domestic laws that should be in line with the AfCFTA.

“There are guidelines on land reforms that need to be turned into regulations within the domestic systems.

“Policy coherence has to be at the heart of what we do. This can be achieved by engaging everyone including women and youth at the grassroots level.

“Also, you cannot be talking of AfCFTA as of it is just about Ministers of Trade, Economy or Investment. The idea is a totality of the entire governance structure. This is very important,” he said.

Speakers also noted that inclusive land governance was one of the key pillars to enhance Africa’s drive to improve intra-African trade, food security, and sustainable food systems.

They said an inclusive governance system would allow stakeholders to create transparency, subsidiarity, inclusiveness, prior informed participation, and social acceptance by affected communities in land-based initiatives beyond their borders.

Continue Reading


SOLID MINERALS: Alake Revokes 1,633 Mining Titles, Warns Illegal Miners



The Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Dele Alake, on Tuesday, announced the revocation of 1,633 mining titles for defaulting on payment of annual service fees.

Alake made this known at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, saying his decision was in compliance with the law, the Mining Cadastral Office (MCO) on Oct.  4, began the process of revoking 2,213 titles.

“These included 795 exploration titles, 956 small-scale mining licences, 364 quarry licences and 98 mining leases.

“These were published in the Federal Government Gazette Number 178, Volume 110 of Oct. 10 with the notice of revocation for defaulting in the payment of annual service fee.

“The mandatory 30 days expired on Nov. 10. Only 580 title holders responded by settling their indebtedness.

“With this development, the MCO recommended the revocation of 1, 633 mineral titles as follows: Exploration Licence, 536; Quarry Licence, 279; Small Scale Mining Licence, 787 and Mining Lease, 31.

“In line with the powers conferred on me by the NMMA 2007, Section 5 (a), I have approved the revocation of the 1,633 titles,” the minister said.

*Dele Alake, Minister of Solid Minerals

He said that the titles would be reallocated to more serious investors.

He warned the previous holders of the titles to leave the relevant cadaster with immediate effect.

He said that security agencies would work with the mines inspectorate of the ministry to apprehend any defaulter found in any of the areas where titles had been revoked.

“We have no doubt in our mind that the noble goals of President Bola Tinubu to sanitise the solid minerals sector and position the industry for international competitiveness are alive and active.

“We appeal to all stakeholders for their co-operation in achieving these patriotic objectives and encourage those who have done business in this sector the wrong way to turn a new leaf.

“Ultimately, the Nigerian people shall be the winners,” he said.

According to Alake, It is indeed very unconscionable for corporate bodies making huge profits from mining to refuse to give the government its due by failing to pay their annual service fee.

“It is indeed a reasonable conjecture that such a company will even be more unwilling to pay royalties and honour its tax obligations to the government.

“The amount the companies are being asked to pay is peanut compared to their own revenue projections.

” For example, the holder of an exploration title pays only N1,500 per cadastral unit not exceeding 200 units. Those holding titles covering more than 200 units pay N2,000 per unit, In short, the larger the area your title covers, the more you pay.

“This principle was applied to ensure that applicants do not hold more than they require to explore.

“With a cadastral unit captured as a square of 500 metres by 500 metres, any law-abiding title holder should not hesitate to perform its obligations,” he said.

The minister said that every sector required a governance system that regulated the conduct of its participants, the procedures for entry and exit, the obligations of the government to participants and the penalties for non-compliance.

He said that the philosophy of the Nigerian Minerals and Mining Act 2007 was to establish a rational system of administering titles transparently and comprehensively to ensure a seamless transition from reconnaissance to exploration and from exploration to mineral extraction.

“The principal agency for the administration of titles is the MCO, which receives applications, evaluates them, and issues titles with the approval of the office of the minister of solid minerals development.

“Although the MCO has tried to improve its efficiency by adopting new application administration technology, it continues to face challenges in monitoring the compliance of title holders,” he said.“Although the MCO has tried to improve its efficiency by adopting new application administration technology, it continues to face challenges in monitoring the compliance of title holders,” he said.

He warned illegal miners to desist from their illegal activities as their “days were numbered”. 

Continue Reading

Editor’s Pick